Duke 'n' Bird


Vanguard Studios NYC

his unique solo piano album by Al Haig was recorded on May 6th 1976 at New York’s Vanguard Studios. It is being released now on CD for the first time in the U.S.

Al Haig was born in Newark, New Jersey on July 22, 1924. Starting early as a boy, he played piano, harp and clarinet. He started concentrating on the piano when he entered Oberlin College in 1940. He then joined the Coast Guard. After his service, he headed to Boston to play with Rudy Williams. When he heard Dizzy Gillespie on the radio from New York, he became drawn to New York and arrived in 1944. He polished his craft at the jazz clubs on 52nd Street. At age 20, he joined Charlie Parker’s group. By May of 1945, his performances were being singled out in Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker’s all-star quintet. Later, he became beloved as an excellent sideman to Charlie Parker as well as to Stan Getz. He was one of the top ‘bop’ pianists of his time, but never really achieved widespread fame. He went through much personal turmoil when he came under suspicion of murdering his wife in 1969, but was later acquitted. During the ‘70s, he continued to perform, mostly solo piano, in New York. His achievements were finally recognized during the last decade of his life. He passed away in 1982.

Side 1 consists of a medley made up of four songs made famous by Duke Ellington – “Prelude To A Kiss”, “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good”, “Sophisticated Lady” and “In A Sentimental Mood.” Side 2 consists of a medley made up of four songs made famous by or were favorites of Charlie Parker – “Yardbird Suite”, “Lover Man”, “I Remember You” and “Embraceable You.” Al Haig was a unique individual as was his music.